Dancing with the Stars NZ episode 2: A kiss, a spell and a millionaire-maker goes home

OPINION:

Faster than a Brown Butterbean swing, we are back for episode two of Dancing with the Stars New Zealand and already we have been hit with our first elimination.

“But it’s only week one?!” I hear you cry. I know, the judges know, and the heartbroken contestant who got the brutal “thank you, next” most certainly knew. So here’s how the savagery that is reality TV eliminations went down.

First up we needed to get through our remaining two dancers, with presenter Brodie Kane and rower Eric Murray still yet to hit the floor.

Does that feel unfair that these celebs are given less time for the public vote to roll in for their performances when everyone else danced last night? Of course, it does! But that’s showbiz baby.

The show opened with some classic banter between hosts Sharyn Casey, who was giving us va-va-voom with the look and Clinton Randell, who was giving us va-va-Lord Farquaad with the hair.

Murray and Loryn Reynolds were up first and we instantly saw a softer side of the rowing legend, speaking with pride about his son and revealing how he supports his autism and navigates him being non-verbal. It was a beautiful moment and we were rooting for him the whole way.

Murray twisted and tossed Reynolds around the stage in a routine that was highly skilled – which we would expect from the dance pro who won the last series with now-disgraced former Warriors star Manu Vatuvei. The judges loved it and we were on board.

The ultra-lovable Kane was our final performance of week one and brought all the charm and humour we have come to expect from the presenter.

Kane and dance partner Enrique Johns took the stage in sparkles, stars, mohawks and oodles of glitter. The performance was fun, energy-packed and finished off the week with a bang.

In a Dancing with the Stars first, we next had themed relay-style dances, giving each couple a chance to dance again.

In the only team name I will ever pick going forward, Team Cha-Cha was first to the plate, and it was Alex Vaz who took home this writer’s Most Improved award. Maybe doing up a few shirt buttons made all the difference? Kerre Woodham and Murray had a cheeky “kiss” and overall we loved it.

There were more scores, and it got confusing and despite the best feedback Vaz was awarded the lowest score and we all knew he was wronged. There was a lot to digest here, mainly what spell reality TV repeat offender Vaz has cast on me?

Team Waltz hit the floor next and Sonia Gray stunned – girl what is your skincare routine?! – and took home my award for Best in Show. The group dance was mellow and perfectly lovely, even with the ASOS bridesmaid’s dresses.

The move of the week went to Vaz and Brittany Coleman for their lift, so $100 says they go home. This is a reality TV stitch-up if ever I saw one.

Then the moment was here, the bottom two, as voted by a combo of the public and judges voting were Gray and Vaz, but it was TVNZ presenter and Lotto legend Gray who went home. I was shocked, the public was shocked and this was more of a reality TV stitch-up than I could have ever imagined. Is this network wars at its finest? Gray, call me.

Gray, who was dancing for ADHD New Zealand, was visibly emotional and Casey shared her sentiments, while other contestants hugged the Lotto presenter and her family cried in the stands. Not Randell though, who did not get the mood of the room. “Go the Warriors!” shouted the excited host as the room around him crumbled.

The judges leaderboard

Eli Matthewson and Jonny Williams: 32/40

Jazz Thornton and Brad Coleman: 30/40

Eric Murray and Loryn Reynolds: 29/40

Rhys Mathewson and Phoebe Robb: 27/40

Brodie Kane and Enrique Johns: 26/40

David Letele and Kristie Williams: 26/40

ELIMINATED: Sonia Gray and Aaron Gilmore: 26/40

Kerre Woodham and Jared Neame: 26/40

Alex Vaz and Brittany Coleman: 21/40

• Dancing with the Stars airs Sunday 7pm and Monday 7.30pm on Three and ThreeNow.

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